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West Hampstead is an area in the London Borough of Camden in north-west London. Mainly defined by the railway stations of the same name, it is situated between Childs Hill to the north, Frognal and Hampstead to the north-east, Swiss Cottage to the east, South Hampstead to the south-east, Kilburn to the west and south-west, and Cricklewood to the north-west. The area is mainly residential with several small shops, restaurants, cafes, bakeries concentrated on the northern section of West End Lane and around West End Green. It is served by three stations: West Hampstead on the Jubilee line, West Hampstead Overground station and West Hampstead Thameslink station. It is part of the Kilburn postal district (NW6).
An area, known as “le Rudyng” (indicating a woodland clearing) in the mid-13th century, had by 1534 come to be called West End. It was then a freehold estate belonging to Kilburn Priory, and was so called because it was at the west end of another, larger estate. Although it is possible that there was a dwelling on the estate prior to 1244, an estate house was certainly extant by 1646. West End Lane (named as such by 1644), the main road through the area, is still bent at a right-angle at the north and south ends where it connects to Finchley Road and Edgware Road respectively. This is because the lane used to form the boundary between a number of different estates.
By the early 17th century several houses were present, and by the middle of that century London merchants were building larger houses in the area. By 1800 West End was a hamlet of two to three dozen houses and cottages located in parkland, mostly on the west side of West End Lane and Fortune Green Lane, and north of the present-day railway lines. West End Lane had been rerouted, making it straighter and lying further to the west than previously. In 1851 residents were mainly agricultural labourers, gardeners, craftsmen and tradespeople, with an innkeeper, two beershop keepers, a schoolmistress and a few gentry. There were three main large houses: West End House, West End Hall and Lauriston Lodge.
Transformation of the area started with the construction of three railway lines across West End Lane: Hampstead Junction Railway, built by 1857; Midland line, opened in 1868; and Metropolitan & St. John’s Wood line, opened in 1879. West Hampstead was the name adopted by Metropolitan & St. John’s Wood for its station on West End Lane. The period of greatest development for the area was the 15 years from the opening of that station, with estates on the west side of West End Lane being turned from farmland and parkland into housing estates. Large scale development on the east side of West End Lane started in 1897, with the redevelopment of the properties where the three large houses of West End Hall, Canterbury House and Treherne House had stood until then.
There are three railway stations named West Hampstead, all within close proximity, and a number of other tube stations in the area. Numerous bus routes pass through the district.
There are four English Heritage blue plaques in West Hampstead commemorating historic personalities that have lived there. The plaques mark the residences of painter David Bomberg at 10 Fordwych Road, conductor Sir Adrian Boult at 78 Marlborough Mansions on Cannon Hill, newspaper proprietor Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe at 31 Pandora Road, and ophthalmologist Dame Ida Mann at 13 Minster Road.